Workout Tips

Linear Periodization: The Ultimate Muscle Building Plan

Consider this training approach for long-term success in the weight room.

Linear Periodization: The Ultimate Muscle-Building Plan

If you want to achieve things in the weight room you have to have a plan. You have to walk in with a clear idea of what you are doing that day and how it relates to the goals you have set for yourself.

A lot of people do the same exercises, with the same weights week after week. Or, even worse, they don’t have any kind of plan. They just come into the weight room, search around for something to do and take off. And guess what? They look exactly the same as they did 6 months ago.

To truly maximize your time in the weight room you have to have goals and a plan of attack. I’m not talking about planning a few days in advance, you need a comprehensive periodized plan that will allow you to achieve your long term goals.

Linear Periodization

Linear periodization is one viable periodization scheme that has been used by big lifters like Kaz and Coan for decades. It's very basic and can become a little bit monotonous, but there is no mistaking its success.

The basic idea of linear periodization is to start with high volume and low intensity, and gradually (as your competition approaches) move towards low volume and high intensity. Once your competition draws near, you are doing very low volume with very heavy weights. For example, let’s look at a 6-month timespan.

Week 1-4: 4 sets of 10 reps

Week 5-8: 4 x 8

Week 9-12: 4 x 6

Week 13-16: 4 x 5

Week 17-20: 4 x 3

Week 21-24: 3 x 2

With linear periodization you are always adding weight to the bar, every week is heavier than the previous week (unless you miss the weight or it’s a designated deload week).

Tips for Linear Periodization

Don’t progress too fast through each cycle, give yourself at least 3 weeks at a certain rep scheme before moving on to the next. And don’t try to add too much weight too quickly. You have to be patient, and progress gradually with the weight. You don’t want to end up missing a lot of reps.

Doing the same lifts each cycle might get boring, that’s too bad, you want to thoroughly expose the muscles to sufficient stimuli so that they grow. Just keep the end goal in mind if you start to get bored.

On a similar note, finish the program all the way through. You might not see the gains right away, but if you follow this linear periodization scheme you will definitely reap the rewards down the road.

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